PHILIPSBURG:--- On Monday, September 27, 2021, Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson, accompanied by Minister Plenipotentiary Rene Violenus visited Minister of Justice and Security in the Netherlands Mr. Ferdinand Grapperhaus.
In closing of her meetings with her Dutch counterparts, Minister Richardson paid a visit to Minister Grapperhaus. There she reflected on the positive experience that she had during the work visit and the possibilities for further cooperation that the Minister saw, and which she felt needed to be explored. In addition to expanding cooperation beyond the Sint Maarten police force, further topics of discussions were the treaty concerning mutual legal assistance and extradition between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, Sint Maarten inmates housed in the Netherlands, a new Chief Public Prosecutor for Sint Maarten and the Judicial Four Party Consultation (JVO) scheduled for January 2022.
“I recognize the positive effects that the assistance of the Dutch National Police has had on KPSM as an organization and appreciate the continuation of the relationship. It is with this model in mind and the willingness expressed to help improve our detention situation by prison officials of the facilities that I visited here, that I seek ways in which this can be put into practice” stated Minister Richardson. As an example, Minister Richardson mentioned Sint Maarten prison guards receiving professional guidance from Dutch colleagues with many years of experience in the Dutch prison system. Minister Grapperhaus was pleased to learn that Minister Richardson’s visit went well and indicated that he was open to discussing with his fellow Dutch Ministers what possibilities there may be.
In discussing the treaties with the United Arab Emirates for the Kingdom, Minister Grapperhaus emphasized the importance of the treaties and the benefits they will have for all the countries in the Kingdom. As such, he asked Minister Richardson to seriously consider having the application of the treaties extended to Sint Maarten. Minister Richardson informed Minister Grapperhaus that Sint Maarten supports all steps to further strengthen the judicial order and that upon her return to Sint Maarten she would discuss the treaties with her fellow colleagues and other stakeholders.
Due to Minister Richardson’s very full program, safety measures and corona measures in the Dutch prisons, visiting times being tightly regulated and the fact that Sint Maarten inmates are not all concentrated at one location in the Netherlands, a visit to a Sint Maarten inmate in the Netherlands for Minister Richardson could not be arranged during the work visit. The costs associated with housing Sint Maarten inmates in the Netherlands were also discussed by Minister Richardson and Minister Grapperhaus and it was decided that this would be looked into.
The current Chief Public Prosecutor of Sint Maarten's tenure will end at the end of 2021. While in the Netherlands, Minister Richardson had the opportunity to have a virtual introductory meeting with the proposed candidate for new Chief Public Prosecutor for Sint Maarten and informed Minister Grapperhaus of her impressions of the candidate. Also, discussed was the advice being prepared by a JVO workgroup on the Function Book of the Attorney General’s office which was intended to be presented at the next Judicial Four party Consultation in January 2022, and the possibility of receiving the advice before the next consultation.
As a special gesture to emphasize the good relationship between Minister Grapperhaus and Minister Richardson, the special relationship between the two countries in the Kingdom, gifts were exchanged that were honorably received by both Ministers.